Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 for 21: Alexander, Elden and Megan

I was thinking today about the Water and Fire metaphors again.  The children who are in really bad shape make me want to swoop in and save them, but they are, for that very reason, the ones that pose the greatest challenge both to the family and to the community.  I think that the goal is not to be a superhero, but to change the culture in my community so that more children are rescued and more is done to effect social change abroad.  So I want to share today about a couple of children with Down syndrome who would be relatively easy to rehabilitate if adopted.

Here is Alexander:

Alexander just turned 6 a couple of months ago, and is apparently "healthy and doing very well".  He does seem to have a cardiac anomaly ("supplemental chord of the left ventricle") so would need to be checked out by a cardiologist, but it does not seem to be slowing him down much, as he is "sociable and affectionate".  In addition,  there is significant financial assistance available for his adoption, both in the form of a $10,000 agency grant and over $8,000 through Reece's Rainbow.  This is especially significant for an adoption from Russia, where costs range from $30K to $40K in most regions.  Isn't he adorable?  Can you imagine his mouth curling up in a smile or opening in an open laugh while his eyes twinkle and sparkle?

From another region of Russia, here is Elden:


Elden is 5, and will not turn 6 until next February.  Here is a blog post from last year which includes his file pictures back to when he was 2 and a half.

Age 2.5
Age 3.5

He also has a large grant through Reece's Rainbow.  His region is not far from Moscow, and requires 4 trips, but each one is pretty short (a week or less).  Doesn't he look like such a bundle of joy?

From the St. Petersburg region, here is a lovely girl who is 6 going on 7 in December.  Megan has the largest Reece's Rainbow grant, over $24,000:

What a beautiful girl, with a great smile!  She is "active, assertive and social".  Sounds like a spunky little girl!  Wouldn't she be a fun addition to your family and community?


  1. They are all gorgeous, but Megan especially just tugs at my heart. While I'm always relieved to see families step up for kids in the direst need, like the orphans of Pleven, I also think the rhetoric of urgency employed in these cases ("if this child isn't adopted immediately, they'll DIE!!") does a disservice to everyone. time and time again I've seen families step up for these orphans who have no experience with children with special needs or attachment/institutionalization issues, who live in rural areas far from the medical specialists their children will depend on, who already have six or seven or eight biological children, and who are planning on financing their adoption entirely through fundraising. Children who will need a massive amount of medical care and intensive rehabilitation have well-meaning but naive families commit to them while healthy, easily integrated children with large grants, like those you've listed here, wait and wait. It doesn't seem fair. All of these kids need families, not just those with the loudest and most popular advocates.

  2. I just went through the waiting children with Ds on RR looking for healthy, high-functioning kids with large grants to add to this list, but seeing all those faces was too difficult. How do we even begin? The need is so overwhelming. Maybe tomorrow, if I'm feeling tougher. :P

  3. The thing is, someone ALREADY shouted and advocated for these kids, that's how they got those large grants. What a shame for that effort to be wasted while the children get older and harder to adopt! I am not sure I want to adopt through RR with all the issues they are having, but if I did, I would definitely seek out someone who already had "warriors".

    I am planning another post about kids who have smaller grants but are younger and/or higher functioning.

    And frankly, almost all the kids on the 0-2 pages would have far more minor delays and institutionalization/attachment issues and more opportunities for successful early intervention.

    1. Very true! Speaking of RR's difficulties, I have to wonder if all of these kids are even available for adoption. I always planned to go through RR when adoption became a possibility, but the illegality of their photolistings, the issues with corruption and abusive facilitators, the encouraging families to adopt multiple children at a time, the evangelical rhetoric, the fundraising...sigh. I wish I could still support RR. I agree with their mission, but their practices are really worrying.

      When it comes to attachment disorders, age at time of adoption is a huge factor -- but I've also read the stories of families who adopted their children at only a few months old and still ended up dealing with full-blown RAD. Prenatal factors such as acute stress are significant contributors to attachment difficulties.

    2. Hm, I was thinking the same thing. The issue is, RR is not an agency, but they act like that. They are a fundraising ministry, but of you fundraise through them, you have to use their facilitators in Ukraine and you can't even arrange for your or apartment. Also kids from regions in Russia that do not allow Americans to adopt (even with the treaty signed) are still listed.

      There are other ways to fundraise and there are more ethical agencies and organizations... though since it's such a great business, they are few and far between.

    3. No, you don't have to use their facilitators. I was told that even if I am matched with a SN child who is not listed, that I could add him/her in and get a fundraising account. Also, that if I got matched up with a kid who IS listed through my local agency, I wouldn't have to switch agencies to get the kid's grant. I was told this in writing. I know that in practice some people have had issues, but I don't know the details.

  4. Alexander is on MFFM! Made my night. :)


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